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This designer has pop-up potential

September 29, 2016

 

 

Her to-do list is written in pink chalk on one wall and includes just a few remaining tasks, such as painting the walls gray.

 

The pallets of wood are stacked along another wall, where they will become display racks for shoes.

Jennifer Graf has come a long way from handing out homemade jewelry and Christmas ornaments to family and friends as gifts. The 30-something Washington, D.C.-area native has graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology and designed clothes for Rocawear and Raffi.

Now, she is opening her own store.

Sort of.

 

Graf is rehabbing a space at 124 N. Davie St. It’ll be a pop-up shop selling consigned clothing and accessories. She is calling it Vintage to Vogue.

With the store, Graf is hoping to fulfill her own dreams while filling a retail void in downtown Greensboro.

But it has taken more than two years to get to this point.

Graf moved from New York to Greensboro for love. She got a job as a designer for the Kayser-Roth Corp., but she had more trouble finding a place to start her own business.

 

Graf knew she wanted to have a store downtown; she liked the energy and potential there. But she said the rents were too high, and none of the property owners were interested in her idea for a pop-up shop, which would allow her to test having a retail store without making a long-term commitment.

And then Ryan Saunders — a social entrepreneur who has done work to help make Greensboro a more vibrant place — introduced Graf to his boss, Marty Kotis of Kotis Properties.

Kotis, a busy developer in Greensboro, is not afraid of new. His projects are known for their distinct features. He said he was interested in Graf opening a pop-up in any of his properties to help “retain more sharp young people with great ideas that want to change our city for the better.”

Kotis is allowing Graf to use the Davie Street sp